January 14

Genesis 15:10-12 (NIV) 10Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 12As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

God entered into a covenant that was an ancient ritual in Abram's day. It was to verify an inheritance or to confirm an alliance. Animals were cut in half, and each party would walk through the blood. They were in picture saying, "If either party breaks the agreement (covenant) let us be like these animals, chopped in half and our blood shed." In this case, God alone walked through the blood while Abram was in a deep sleep. It meant that God had promised to pay with His own blood if either party broke the agreement.

The parties involved would often exchange weapons. That meant that your enemies are now mine and mine are yours. We will fight beside and for each other. They would also exchange their purses. Your wealth is available to my need and mine for yours. Again, since Abraham did not go through the blood, this is a very one-sided agreement. God has committed Himself to protect and provide for Abraham and his descendents. What a promise for Abraham and his heirs, who we are by faith! (Galatians 3:29)

Sometimes the covenant had to be reconfirmed if there was doubt as to the commitment of either party. The confirming of the covenant would be to exchange sons. The son of Abram was offered on Mount Moriah, and so was the Son of God. God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son. Abram's descendants did break the covenant over and over. Eventually when the perfect time had come, God did pay with His own blood on the cross.

Meditation: God is my Protector and my Provider. He confirmed His covenant by giving His own Son. What a gracious God!

January 14

Haggai 1:4-6 (NIV) 4"Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?" 5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 6You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

The Lord says that the circumstances in our life are His call for us to consider our ways. If there is a lack of blessing or provision, then there is something we need to think about. There is some reason. That reason is often to have us consider the condition of our heart.

After the exiles returned, they rebuilt the altar and the foundation of the temple. Then the enemy attacked with accusations. The people moved their efforts to their own homes. They got comfortable in this switch of emphasis, so God gave them some discomfort. It reminded them that they had forgotten their original focus. Problems in life should cause us to seek God. They should call us to give attention to what God is saying to us. It is the faithfulness of God to get us back on track.

Do you see circumstances as a natural set of occurrences, coincidences? 'Coincidence' merely means that two events coincided. The question of why they coincided remains. If your god is small, he had nothing to do with it. If your God is the Sovereign Lord of all, He, at least, allowed it for a reason. Jesus taught something very similar to Haggai's message. "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33 Give careful thought to your ways.

Consider: Have I been ignoring the powerful hand of God in my life today? How should I respond?